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Alltech and KSU tackling challenges together

Representatives from Alltech and Kentucky State University sign an agreement to form a Sustainable Farming Alliance at a ceremony at the Kentucky State University Research and Demonstration Farm near Frankfort. Pictured from left to right are Dr. Teferi Tsegaye, dean of KSU’s College of Agriculture, Food Science and Sustainable Systems; KSU President Mary Evans Sias; Alltech founder and president Dr. Pearse Lyons; and Dr. Karl Dawson, chief scientific officer for Alltech.

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- With a global population of 9 billion expected by 2050 and fewer resources with which to feed them, agriculture faces a daunting challenge over the next 25 years. The agribusiness industry will require major technological leaps in order to keep pace with a growing, hungry population while also preserving natural resources for future generations. For this reason, Alltech and Kentucky State University (KSU) have formalized a joint research alliance to develop sustainable farming techniques and modern farming models.

Alltech will invest $75,000 per year toward research at KSU and will also provide support for KSU graduate students’ research and for demonstrations in agriculture, food sciences, sustainable systems and related fields. These investments will help develop an active graduate student training program and undergraduate internship program in sustainable farming as well as a merit-based program aimed at supporting future agricultural science development.

“This farming-focused alliance will position central Kentucky at the forefront of sustainable agriculture and aquaculture, arguably two of our world’s most significant challenges. The work being done on KSU’s campus will not only have global implications, but will contribute to the development of a knowledge-based economy and job creation locally. It will also demonstrate how we can use technology to support small farm agriculture in Kentucky,” said Dr. Karl Dawson, chief scientific officer at Alltech.

“We’re excited about the collaboration between Alltech and Kentucky State University,” said KSU’s president, Dr. Mary Evans Sias. “KSU’s world-class aquaculture program combines innovative research and outreach to assist farms and families. Alltech is a major global corporation that focuses its resources on the sustainability of the planet. We can only expect great things to come from this perfect match.”

The Alltech-KSU Sustainable Farming Alliance will operate from the KSU campus and has been established for an initial period of three years, at which time extension may be considered. It will be managed by a committee of three Alltech scientists and four KSU faculty members, and chaired by Dr. Teferi Tsegaye, dean of KSU’s College of Agriculture, Food Science and Sustainable Systems and associate vice president for land grant. Projects and activities will be selected based on their scientific merit, socioeconomic value and the potential for commercialization of the results. Initial plans include the establishment of an annual conference to promote sustainable farming and agriculture.

Alltech has signed research alliances with more than a dozen universities and institutes around the world, including the University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University in the United States; NOFIMA in Norway; five of China's leading universities; Kochi University in Japan; Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries Sciences University and Bangalore University in India; AgroSup Dijon in France; Harper Adams University in the United Kingdom; and Rivalea in Australia. A total of 18 research alliances are expected to be finalized by the close of 2013.